The Deva Life Cycle
Devas are a race whose most important distinguishing characteristic is that they are never born, but are incarnated fully grown in a sacred place; similarly, when they live out the course of a lifetime what happens to them after death is unique.
Even though a deva is never “born” they do have a concrete beginning. A ‘normal’ soul, after death, does not retain it’s distinctness but is re-absorbed into the comprehensive energy of being. This event is in some sense known by all the religions of the world but can be interpreted in many ways; from joining with a patron god to live in eternal peace to simply leaving existence. Most of these interpretations are, in some sense, true. One of the ways a deva soul can begin it’s existence is in the form of any normal mortal race. Some souls simply don’t blend back in. Usually this occurs when the life of the person was god-touched in some way or another; or intensely spiritual in some way. The most common (but still very uncommon) way that this happens is when a person’s life so fully mirrors a god and his or her personality and ideology that they begin to channel the god.
Another way a deva can begin its lifetime as such is from an Angel. Angels are divine creatures, but have no freedom of choice. They are created by a God for a specific purpose – a purpose which may be more or less relevant to any situation in which they find themselves. Even though they do not have free will in the same way as ordinary mortals, an Angel is a sentient, self-aware being. It sometimes happens that an angel will waver from its purpose, and at that time it will begin its cycles of incarnation, usually marked by some first “choice” where its action defies its strict purpose; for instance, an angel of wrath performing an act of mercy, or a messenger angel interfering in the events it was merely supposed to herald and witness. These actions are then judged as would be any deva soul at the end of a lifetime.
The maximum length of a Deva’s life is proportional to the number of lifetimes he or she has lived. a Deva’s first incarnation has a fairly short life, around 50 years or so. Each subsequent incarnation is more able to cling to bodily existence, and so can live for about 50 years longer. If a deva reaches 10 incarnations, it can live to be about 500 years old; once its life reaches this length, however, it will also tend to take more and more time between incarnations, rather than reincarnating immediately after death.
Devas have no “culture” because of their solitary origins, but often will adopt practices native to the origin of their incarnations. Having made the choice to live again in the world, and with some subconscious awareness of that choice, devas with multiple incarnations tend to wander, spending varying amounts of time in locations. Very rarely will a deva live in one place during its entire lifetime.
Although they do not necessarily seek out other devas, it is not terribly uncommon for devas to enounter each other on their travels. When this happens, a deva can immediately tell how many incarnations another has had relative to their own, and of what nature these incarnations tended to take. Although this knowledge is technically available to any learned person looking at a deva, it is something that is intuitively available to any deva by virtue of their being. in some cases a deva might be able to tell which god is patronizing another deva, although this is most common if the deva has some personal familiarity with a deity.
In a similar vein to their lack of birth, the events that occur at the end of a deva’s lifetime are unique. There are three main occurrences at the end of a deva’s life. The first is simply to be reincorporated into the wheel of incarnation. Upon drawing his or her last breath in the world, a deva soul is judged before a divine court, which weighs all the events of the lived lifetime. The soul then serves a sentence that will balance that life; from time spent walking among the gods as guests, to cleaning their toilets, to imprisonment in the depths of tortuous hell. The time spent serving this sentence in these places impresses itself indelibly on the soul, and will later appear as markings on the deva’s skin. There are two color ranges to match the two ways the scales can balance, with the depth of that color reflecting the magnitude of the imbalance. A scale that balances predominantly evil will result in patterning in the red-purple range, appearing similar to birthmarks or bruises, while a scale that balances good will result in patterning in the white-brown range of human skin tones, with the darkest patterning corresponding to the most good.
The next two events that can happen at the end of a Deva’s lifetime mirror the ways in which a deva comes into being, and usually a soul that came into existence in one way will leave it following the same pattern. Thus, a deva might at the end of its life lose whatever it is that has allowed the bits of its soul to be cohesive, and simply blend back into energy like any other soul would after its death. For souls that achieved this cohesion spontaneously, the process of losing cohesion happens gradually but usually starts relatively soon. So, a soul might only live through three or four incarnations before blending back in with all of creation, although it most often lives through around 10. This is the most common ending of a deva soul, as it is the most common origin. Angelic begat devas tend not to lose their distinctness but rather to align themselves so closely with some purpose that they once again become angelic beings, trading in their free will in favor of emobodying some specific role or purpose in service to a god. Again, this most often does not take many incarnations. A deva with more than 50 incarnations is very, very rare, and will probably spend less and less time living lives and more time walking among the gods.